Small is Big: The Impact of Social Worker/CASA Resource Grants

Through 25 years of radical philanthropy, we at PVF have found that small can be significant and impactful, reflected in both our small staff size of five and our small and strategic grant size. Our signature Social Worker/CASA Resource Grants Program is no exception. This program provides $250 grants to dedicated social workers and CASAs (Court Appointed Special Advocates) to support the critical needs of children in court dependency and foster care with whom they work. Despite the small $250 price tag, these grants impact the lives of our communities’ neediest children in myriad ways.

With $250, a foster youth can buy new clothes to fit in with her peers: “I really appreciate the opportunity to take a shopping trip with my CASA youth. As a youth in the foster care system, she has struggled in many different ways, including struggling to fit in with her peers. Having new clothes that fit and that she feels comfortable in has made a big difference for her this year.”

With $250, the enormous process of adoption can be made possible: “Thank you so much for the check for $250 which allowed a foster family to prepare for permanent guardianship for an 11 year old boy. The funds were used to purchase two single bed frames, paint, and painting supplies for his new bedroom. He is thrilled with the results! Providing a separate sleeping space for a child is one requirement of the Juvenile Court before they will approve an application for adoption or permanent guardianship. Your generous grant made it possible for this low-income family to complete the necessary requirements. This young man will now become a permanent member of his new family in a few weeks.”

The possibilities of using a $250 grant are endless, but one thing is for sure: this small amount can go a long way in the life of a foster youth. It can improve self-esteem, strengthen ties between advocate and youth, and instill a sense of safety and hope.

In the past 15 years we have given out more than 5,000 of these small grants to Bay Area foster youth, and each grant has been awarded within 48 hours of us receiving a one-page request from a social worker or CASA. We strive to support high needs, disadvantaged youth by removing traditional philanthropic obstacles in order to get funds directly to where they are needed the most.

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